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Searching for stories on summer days - Bob Paslay

We are fond of saying that news slows down in summer, and news organizations scramble for enough fodder to fill the always eating machines like 24-hour news. So when does Elvis appear or at least when does Elvis get coverage for appearing? The summer. When does Bigfoot come out of the swamps and finds reporters waiting to interview him?

Summer.

Now with the temperature rising past 90 degrees outside, comes the great flip-flop controversy of 2005.

Northwestern University's national championship women's lacrosse team was being honored at the White House and posed for a picture with President Bush. All of the women were very nicely respectfully dressed, but some of the women wore flip-flops. Not the break apart cheap beach ones, but nice ones.

A front page headline in the Chicago Tribune proclaimed: "You wore flip-flops to the White House?" Players defended their actions, saying they meant no disrespect and were just looking for something that was comfortable.

The "Today" show jumped into the fray and interviewed them and the players said they planned to auction off the alleged offenders and give all the proceeds from the great flip-flop auction to donate the money to a fund for a 10-year-old girl with a brain tumor.

I don't have any strong views on flip-flops. I don't wear them but only because I didn't wear them growing up. But styles and fashions change.

It's like Bermuda shorts. In Bermuda they wore them as formal attire with a shirt and tie. In America we wore them as casual wear. I see an awful lot of young adults wearing flip-flops, sandals and other footwear that I think of as being casual. But to this generation it is normal wear. They grow up wearing them.

And what says that you have to uncomfortable in the world. Coats and ties have given way to Polo shirts in the audiences of Broadway plays. You still see the coat and tie but you see more people who dress for being comfortable all day long and see no reason to change for a two-hour play.

I find the whole flip-flop controversy funny. The Associated Press pointed out that even President Bush's daughter Jenna wore flip-flops to court four years ago, when as a 19-year-old she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charges of being a minor in possession of alcohol.

I don't know if anyone actually asked the President if he thought the Northwestern athletes' footwear was appropriate or not appropriate for the occasion. He probably would welcome weighing into the issue, easily a relief from being asked about Karl Rove.

As far as we can determine Rove did not leak to the Chicago Tribune the fact that the flip-flops actually made it into the White House. In fact, the paper said it was inspired by an e-mail from the brother of one of the athletes who saw the picture on the team's website.

The phrases that comes to mind is: Get a life. Embrace new fashions. Look deep into people and see if they intend even the slightest offense and the answer is NO.

For my part I congratulate the Northwestern team for winning the national championship and I don't care what they were wearing. They proved they are first-rate by their performance on the field.

Bob Paslay is editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 256 or at bpaslay@news-daily.com .